A seasoned networker knows the real meaning of networking --being organized, efficient, effective, and, of course, workthe event to its fullest. Attending networking groups afterso many years can tire and drain anyone’s excitement.Especially since these situations are not social events. Itis easy to have one foot in the event and the other someplace else. A major challenge for all networkers is to bethere with both feet.

What propels someone to advance networker? Is it the numberof events or the number of years they attend? No. Is itthe delicate balance and expertise on how they work theevent? Yes.

Here are nine techniques that raise networkers skill level:

1. Business cards. If you are networking for a new job orcareer, there is nothing inappropriate about having abusiness card with a tag line of what type of job or companyyou are seeking.

Basic networkers learn that wearing an outfit with twopockets is important for the business card shuffle. Advancenetworkers think of those pockets as their in-box and anout-boxes.

Aware networkers hand business card exchanges differently.They don't ask for the card until they know something aboutthe person’s functionality and there is a match. No match,no card. When you receive someone’s card; receive it gentlywith both hands, stop and read it. This shows respect.Respect to who they are and what they do.

Present your card exactly the same way you receive a card.Present with both hands and the card’s information facingthe receiver. Extend your card, with eye contact, and waitfor them to receive the card. To present and receive inthis manner, both hands need to be free.

Keep a pen handy, in the out-box pocket with your own cards,for writing tidbits on the back. Doing so is also aphysical queue that is your pocket in case you forget. In-box, left pocket, is for other’s cards. If you are left-handed, the boxes are opposite.

Never apologize for your business card. At the last sixevents I attended, there were at least four people that wereapologizing for either not having a business card, or forsome error on their card. When this occurs you have zappedyour personal power. It sends a signal that you aren'tready to do business. Even quickie inkjet business cardsand better than an excuse.

If you don't have any business cards or ran out, I recommendskipping events until you do. Don't say you don't have acard, use this other technique: ask if you can call themand schedule the time then. Advance networkers are ready toschedule an appointment right then. Generally seasonednetworkers toss any business card if presented with anexcuse.

2. Brochures, samples or flyers. If you need to hold anyof these use an appropriate see-through sleeve or small see-through carrier. For flyers use a clear sleeve with an inand out business card holders on the front. This keepshandouts clean and safe. People don't appreciate receivingpaper with bent edges or ragged rims. If you writearticles, bring your latest and appropriate copy forhandouts. One handout per event is appropriate.

3. Eye contact depends on the culture. I'm speaking herefor the American culture. Make eye contact, both eyes, whenpresenting your business card or receiving theirs. Make eyecontact when shaking hands. And look at them, not theirhands. Honor the person by maintaining focused eye contacton them.

Seasoned networkers know if you are right handed, the nametag is placed on the right. This allows the name to appearin visual perimeter when shaking hands. If the name tag ison the left, others assume you are left handed and willpresent their other hand accordingly.

During your 30 seconds, advanced networkers don't begin orcontinue speaking as they stand or return to their seat.They breathe from their stomach and slowly look around theroom before speaking to gain audience attention and allowpeople to switch to listening mode.

4. It is not important to meet everyone in the room. Usethe time efficiently to meet only those that match yourintention. Seasoned networkers know when and how to break-off the contact to keep moving. They do so smoothly.

If you know others in the room, seasoned networkers know howto hand the other person off to the next person. "Jill, letme introduce you to Sandy. Sandy, Jill. Please excuse mewhile you two get to know each other." Another way topolitely move on is by saying, "Thank you, I've enjoyedtalking with you. I know we're both here to meet otherpeople. So, let’s do so."

5. Come ready to sell (one of my pet peeves). People bringan event flyer with a call to action to register at awebsite or mail a check. You just lost the sale. Be ready,accept cash, check or credit card payment. Generallypeople don't carry more than $20 and prefer to use theircredit or debit cards. Give people an incentive forregistering at the event. Ask for a commitment. Flyersthat require a visit to a website or to mail a check almostalways get trashed. You can see them piled in the eventstrash can.

If you're not ready to get orders, omit it. If you are anauthor, bring your books and sell them. Autograph thebook. Ask if they want to purchase a copy for a client orfriend.

When people don't accept credit cards, it tells me they arenew and aren't ready to sell. It can also say that theevent will have little attendance. People hate to show upat events with little attendance.

6. Let go of the multi-tasking ladies. Eat first and thennetwork. People generally don't want to interrupt someonewhen they are eating. Use a purse that doesn't slide offthe should ever few minutes, it’s distracting. You may wantnot to take a purse or use it to hold the material inplastic sleeves.

7. Introducing yourself, title vs. functionality. Which ismore important to the person you are talking to -- yourtitle or what functions you can help them with. Yep, thelatter. Instead of saying, "I'm a tax preparer" say, "Ihelp people save money on their taxes". Instead of saying,"I'm a business coach" give a WIIFM. Here’s one of mine:"One of my specialties is to help service professionalscreate a short business plan in less than an hour that sayseverything they need to stay focused for the coming year."

Be careful of your tone, pace, and breathing when you talk.People don't naturally tune into what you are saying untilthe third or fourth word. The example above, "One of my...doesn't say anything important until "serviceprofessionals". Name presentation is the same. I say,Catherine Franz, slowly and then repeat my first name:"Catherine with a C". Generally, when people are nervous,they forget to breath before speaking. Then the informationerupts like a volcano. Most of it as inaudible.

8. Less than ½ % of 1% of unseasoned networkers follow-up.That is a sad statistic, and loss of opportunity. Recently,after five events and tagging 40 business cards, only fourfollowed up. I called four, said I wanted to place anorder, and still no response. When we met up again, theyapologized for being too busy. Oops, I went somewhere else.Stop the excuses, no wants to hear them.

On another similar note, don't promise to follow-up anddon't. It shoots down your credibility. If you are one ofthese, please note, when this occurs, people many times takeit personally.

Follow-up within 24 business hours. Your follow-up displaysyour level of commitment to relationships. The way youfollow-up, e-mail or phone, measures how much you want arelationship.

9. Prepare for the event. Bring any promised items. Formorning events, prepare the day before. Arrive early.Early bird gets the worm. Freshen up, walk in relaxed,breathing correctly, standing tall, and ready. Bringsamples, product specials of the month to sell. If its handcream, use it and pass it around the room. Author of a newbook, read a paragraph that gets them curious during your 30seconds, and bring copies for people to purchase.

Author's Bio: 

Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing &Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internetwriting and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newslettersand articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.comblog: http://abundance.blogs.com